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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/R026084/1
Title Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Nuclear (RAIN)
Status Completed
Energy Categories Nuclear Fission and Fusion(Nuclear Fission, Nuclear supporting technologies) 80%;
Nuclear Fission and Fusion(Nuclear Fusion) 10%;
Not Energy Related 10%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Computer Science and Informatics) 15%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 20%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 65%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Professor B Lennox
No email address given
Electrical & Electronic Engineering
University of Manchester
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 02 October 2017
End Date 31 March 2022
Duration 53 months
Total Grant Value £12,807,912
Industrial Sectors Aerospace; Defence and Marine; Environment
Region North West
Programme ISCF Robotics
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor B Lennox , Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Manchester (99.976%)
  Other Investigator Dr M Fallon , Engineering Science, University of Oxford (0.001%)
Professor N Hawes , Engineering Science, University of Oxford (0.001%)
Professor PM Newman , Engineering Science, University of Oxford (0.001%)
Dr I Havoutis , Engineering Science, University of Oxford (0.001%)
Professor MJ Joyce , Engineering, Lancaster University (0.001%)
Professor C Da Vi , Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Professor S Watts , Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr TB Scott , Interface Analysis Centre, University of Bristol (0.001%)
Dr G Herrmann , Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol (0.001%)
Dr J Carrasco , Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr SA Watson , Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr O D Payton , Engineering Mathematics, University of Bristol (0.001%)
Professor A Richards , Aerospace Engineering, University of Bristol (0.001%)
Dr R Buckingham , Culham Division, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) (0.001%)
Dr A Weightman , Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Professor SM Veres , Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, University of Sheffield (0.001%)
Professor G Brown , Computer Science, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Professor M Lujan , Computer Science, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Professor S B Furber , Computer Science, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Professor DA Axinte , Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr TO Richardson , Biological Science, University of Bristol (0.001%)
Dr C Dixon , Computer Scienc, University of Liverpool (0.001%)
Dr L Dennis , Computer Scienc, University of Liverpool (0.001%)
Professor M Fisher , Computer Scienc, University of Liverpool (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , EDF Energy (0.000%)
Project Contact , Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) (0.000%)
Project Contact , BP International Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , ABB Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , Chinese Academy of Sciences (0.000%)
Project Contact , University of Florida, USA (0.000%)
Project Contact , National Nuclear Laboratory (0.000%)
Project Contact , University of Texas at Austin, USA (0.000%)
Project Contact , The Manufacturing Technology Centre: MTC (0.000%)
Project Contact , AWE Plc (0.000%)
Project Contact , Sellafield Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Beijing University, China (0.000%)
Project Contact , Forth Engineering (Cumbria) Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , Fusion for Energy (F4E), Spain (0.000%)
Project Contact , ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), France (0.000%)
Project Contact , Nuclear AMRC (0.000%)
Project Contact , Rolls-Royce PLC (0.000%)
Project Contact , Innotec Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Italy (0.000%)
Project Contact , Longenecker & Associates, USA (0.000%)
Project Contact , Createc Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Shadow Robot Company Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Uniper Technologies Ltd. (0.000%)
Project Contact , Imitec Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Nuvia Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , James Fisher Nuclear Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Japan (0.000%)
Project Contact , Department for International Trade (0.000%)
Project Contact , Festo Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Gassco, Norway (0.000%)
Project Contact , Moog Controls Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , OC Robotics (0.000%)
Project Contact , VALTEGRA GP S.à r.l., Luxembourg (0.000%)
Project Contact , Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (0.000%)
Project Contact , SPRINT Robotics Collaborative, The Netherlands (0.000%)
Project Contact , Tharsus (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract The nuclear industry has some of the most extreme environments in the world, with radiation levels and other hazards frequently restricting human access to facilities. Even when human entry is possible, the risks can be significant and very low levels of productivity. To date, robotic systems have had limited impact on the nuclear industry, but it is clear that they offer considerable opportunities for improved productivity and significantly reduced human risk. The nuclear industry has a vast array of highly complex and diverse challenges that span the entire industry: decommissioning and waste management, Plant Life Extension (PLEX), Nuclear New Build (NNB), small modular reactors (SMRs) and fusion.Whilst the challenges across the nuclear industry are varied, they share many similarities that relate to the extreme conditions that are present. Vitally these similarities also translate across into other environments, such as space, oil and gas and mining, all of which, for example, have challenges associated with radiation (high energy cosmic rays in space and the presence of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in mining and oil and gas). Major hazards associated with the nuclear industry include radiation; storage media (for example water, air, vacuum); lack of utilities (such as lighting, power or communications); restricted access; unstructured environments.These hazards mean that some challenges are currently intractable in the absence of solutions that will rely on future capabilities in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (RAI). Reliable robotic systems are not just essential for future operations in the nuclear industry, but they also offer the potential to transform the industry globally. In decommissioning, robots will be required to characterise facilities (e.g. map dose rates, generate topographical maps and identify materials), inspect vessels and infrastructure, move, manipulate, cut, sort and segregate waste and assist operations staff. To support the life extension of existing nuclear power plants, robotic systems will be required to inspect and assess the integrity and condition of equipment and facilities and might even be used to implement urgent repairs in hard to reach areas of the plant. Similar systems will be required in NNB, fusion reactors and SMRs.Furthermore, it is essential that past mistakes in the design of nuclear facilities, which makes the deployment of robotic systems highly challenging, do not perpetuate into future builds. Even newly constructed facilities such as CERN, which now has many areas that are inaccessible to humans because of high radioactive dose rates, has been designed for human, rather than robotic intervention. Another major challenge that RAIN will grapple with is the use of digital technologies within the nuclear sector. Virtual and Augmented Reality, AI and machine learning have arrived but the nuclear sector is poorly positioned to understand and use these rapidly emerging technologies. RAIN will deliver the necessary step changes in fundamental robotics science and establish the pathways to impact that will enable the creation of a research and innovation ecosystem with the capability to lead the world in nuclear robotics. While our centre of gravity is around nuclear we have a keen focus on applications and exploitation in a much wider range of challenging environments
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 07/02/19